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(Ju­lian Pinder, Bil­lie Mintz, Canada/ U. S.). 80 min­utes. Rat­ing: NN In the foothills of Witchita, the or­ga­niz­ers and par­tic­i­pants of a pas­sion play with an 88-year his­tory dis­cover that their Je­sus is a Bud­dhist. Great premise, but un­for­tu­nately, the film doesn’t find its groove un­til the last five min­utes. Up un­til that point, di­rec­tors Ju­lian Pinder and Bil­lie Mintz have a se­ri­ous tonal prob­lem.

They ap­pear to be mock­ing the in­hab­i­tants of the small town, mainly via a jokey sound­track. The strat­egy of mak­ing sub­jects look ridicu­lous is best ap­plied to mean-spir­ited peo­ple, which th­ese folks are not.

The last se­quence – when they fi­nally turn off the damned sound­track and just tune in to a town meet­ing – has an emo­tional charge, but it just high­lights where the film­mak­ers went wrong dur­ing the rest of the pic.

Here’s a good idea gone bad. Apr 24, 9:15 pm, Is­abel Bader; Apr 25, 1 pm, Hart House; May 3, 9 pm, Is­abel Bader

Je­sus Town USA

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